How to prevent hearing damage from headphones

Headphones have become a popular way to enjoy music, podcasts, and other audio content, but it's important to use them responsibly to avoid potential hazards. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the hazards associated with headphone use and provide you with the top 6 tips to protect your ears from the potential hearing damage they can cause.


What are the hazards of using headphones?

Hearing damage

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds from headphones can lead to hearing damage. This can cause permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Ear infections

Wearing earbuds for extended periods of time can create a warm and moist environment in the ear canal, which can increase the risk of developing Earache and a buildup of Ear Wax.

Physical injury

Headphones can create a physical barrier between the user and their surroundings, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. For example, wearing headphones while cycling or walking near traffic can make it difficult to hear approaching vehicles, putting the user at risk of a collision.

Physical injury


6 tips to protecting your ears from headphone hearing damage

Here are some tips to help you prevent hearing damage from headphones:

1. Limit your listening time

One of the main causes of hearing damage from headphones is prolonged exposure to loud sounds. To prevent this, limit you’re listening to no more than one hour at a time, and take breaks in between to give your ears a rest.

2. Keep the volume low

It's important to keep the volume of your headphones at a safe level. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum volume of 85 decibels (dB) for no more than 8 hours per day. To put this in perspective, a typical conversation is around 60 dB, and a rock concert can reach up to 120 dB.

3. Use noise-cancelling headphones

One way to prevent hearing damage is to use noise-cancelling headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones employ active noise reduction technology to mitigate external noise by generating a sound signal that cancels out ambient sounds. This feature enables you to enjoy your music at a lower volume, reducing the need to adjust the volume level as you listen for an extended period, thereby decreasing the risk of potential hearing damage.

Noise canceling headphones


4. Invest in high-quality headphones

Cheap headphones can produce poor-quality sound, which can lead to you turning up the volume to compensate. Investing in high-quality headphones can provide better sound quality, allowing you to listen at a lower volume.

5. Choose headphones over earbuds

In recent years, earbuds have surged in popularity, particularly with the increasing ubiquity of smartphones. These tiny, silicone or plastic devices are designed to be placed directly in the ear, in contrast to headphones, which are typically worn over the ear. This seemingly small difference is actually quite significant: the closer the sound source is to your eardrum, the greater the risk of potential hearing damage such as a Perforated Eardrum.

Headphones or earbuds


6. Get regular hearing tests

It's a good idea to get regular hearing tests to monitor your hearing and detect any early signs of hearing damage. By taking a proactive approach and scheduling regular hearing tests, you can identify hearing loss or damage before it worsens. Our handy online hearing test can be a great start to your journey to better hearing, and will give you an indication of your hearing level. Please note, if you have noticed any changes in your hearing, you should book in for a free hearing health check in store.

Hearing care at M&S Opticians

If you're struggling to hear or have noticed any changes in your hearing you can schedule your free hearing health check at your local M&S Opticians.